With Christmas only four weeks away it’s time to think about delicious gifts to make and give. This Italian Panforte is packed full of nuts and citrus then bound together with honey, sugar and aromatic spices. Deliciously dense, fruity and chewy!
2½ cups whole skin-on roasted almonds
1½ cups dried apricots
1 cup dried dates
⅓ cup glacé mixed peel
finely grated zest 1 orange and 1 lemon
⅔ cup plain flour
¼ cup cocoa (I used Valrhona)
1 tablespoon ground mixed spice
2 teaspoons ground ginger
½ teaspoon ground white pepper
⅔ cup caster sugar
⅔ cup honey
4 tablespoon Marsala or sherry
Grease a 22cm cake tin and line the base and sides with baking paper cut to fit.
Preheat the oven to 160°C fan bake.
Roughly chop the almonds, apricots and dates and place in a large bowl along with the mixed peel and both zests.
Combine the flour, cocoa and all the spices. Add to the fruit mixture and toss well to coat all the fruit in the flour.
Put the sugar, honey and Marsala or sherry in a saucepan and bring to the boil, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Simmer for 3 minutes.
Tip over the nut mixture and stir quickly to combine ensuring everything is coated in the honey with no pockets of unmixed flour.
Spoon the mixture into the bowl and use a fork to spread evenly then dip your fingertips in water and press the mixture to the edges of the pan.
Bake for 35 minutes. Cool completely in the tin before turning out.
Dust the top generously with icing sugar.
The panforte will keep for 6 weeks well wrapped in an airtight container kept in a cool place. Makes 1 cake or cut into quarters and individually wrap and give as a gift.